There’s nothing better than enjoying a cone of your favourite ice cream on a hot summer’s day, right? Well, researchers from Monash University and RMIT have taken one of life’s simple pleasures to a new level with WeScream!, a sensory ice cream cone that plays music while you lick.
Two interdependent 3D-printed ice cream cones combine human-computer interaction technology to allow users to interact with musical sounds – or even their preferred playlist – generated through the act of eating ice cream together. Project lead Professor Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, director of the Exertion Games Lab in Monash’s Faculty of Information Technology, says the technology encourages playful social eating experiences and offers a whole other meaning to sensory dining.
“Our research found that WeScream! facilitated an enjoyable experience for participants eating together, while also increasing their awareness and attention to the taste of the ice cream,” Prof Mueller said. “Along the way, we have also sparked the interest of chefs and mixologists who are looking for innovative and exciting ways to enhance the dining experience for their customers. The technology is relatively affordable to create and we hope to see WeScream! making an appearance in the hospitality industry relatively soon.”
Exertion Games Lab PhD candidate Yan Wang said physical sensations associated with eating, combined with digital technology, can enhance our everyday eating experiences. “WeScream! offers the characteristics of gameplay, where participants can explore different musical sounds or create a steady flow of sounds through the act of eating ice cream. We believe our work will not only help game developers design playful experiences around food, but also encourage food designers and chefs to incorporate interactive technology into their practices.”
The WeScream! research paper was published at the 2020 Designing Interactive Systems Conference and won a Best Paper Honourable Mention award. You can read the research paper here, and check out the video here.